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Sports Year In Review From Pages Of The News
First year Riverbank coach Juan Harvey accepts the plaque for second place following the Division VI Sac-Joaquin Section Championship soccer match. The Thursday, March 2 contest was held at Turlock High School, finishing out the Bruins 2017 soccer season.

Riverbank had some memorable sports moments during the 2017 calendar year, from an outstanding season for the RHS Lady Bruin golf team, some football wins and topnotch efforts from cross country runners. Community sports also figured in, keeping local youths busy throughout the year. This week, The Riverbank News highlights some of those notable sports moments.



The first week of January brought the beginning of the Trans-Valley League high school regular winter sports schedule, with several games and matches, both boys and girls basketball and soccer, at home and away even though classes didn’t resume until Monday. Jan. 9.

On Monday, Jan. 9, the boys soccer teams hosted the Mustangs of Mountain House for a pair of matches, only somewhat hindered by the rain puddles on the grass. By the time the varsity game kicked off, mud bogs had formed in front of the goal nets and standing water was making shots difficult to control.

Riverbank High School athletes saw both the agony of rainouts last week and the joy of victory — for some — at the Homecoming games on Friday. With the high winds and heavy rain pelting the area, Wednesday soccer matches were postponed. The girls team was scheduled to play at Ripon, who was also set to send their boys’ teams here, but the squads saw games called off before scheduled bus departure times came. Those games are expected to be made up at a later date.

The varsity basketball Bruins rolled to an easy Homecoming victory over the Hughson Huskies on Jan. 20. They powered to a 19-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

At the half, as the Homecoming Queen and King were announced, the game was pretty much out of reach. Riverbank’s bench saw some court time in the final two periods. The final score was 67-35 in favor of the host team.



The clearer skies and lack of rainfall this past week meant better playing conditions for Riverbank High soccer players, but it also doubled up the number of games. A few rainouts from the stormy weeks before were added to the schedules last week, so both boys and girls teams played a number of matches, both at home and away.

Riverbank soccer teams saw mixed results last week, as the winter sports season nears its end. Bruin varsity boys won two out of three matches, while the Lady Bruins lost all three. Bruin boys varsity basketball dropped a pair of home league games while the varsity girls faced the same two-loss result.

All three varsity soccer games recorded 5-1 scores, with the Bruin boys coming out on top in two of them. On Monday, Jan. 30, the varsity boys lost to the visiting Cougars of Escalon, 5-1. The JV boys of Riverbank won that day’s game by a final of 1-0 over Escalon.

Riverbank High School winter sports teams are wrapping up their seasons, with final home games for some held last week and others this week.

At the same time, continuing rain in the area and soggy fields were interfering with the beginning of workouts for spring sports teams. Baseball and softball team practice was to get underway last Monday, Feb. 6, but rain forced workouts indoors.

Riverbank High School athletes found themselves transitioning this week from winter sports to spring sports. While basketball and soccer teams closed out their seasons, some players went directly to baseball or softball fields and the track stadium.



After taking down two higher seeds in the opening rounds of Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff action, the varsity soccer Bruins will face off for the Section title.

The Bruins, who went into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in Division VI, have been successful road warriors through the first two rounds.

They traveled to No. 2 Encina (Sacramento) for opening round play and defeated the host team, 5-4. The Bruins then traveled to Delhi for and prevailed in a 3-2 final.

The Bruin varsity soccer team traveled to Turlock High School on Thursday night, March 2 to finish out their 2017 season, competing in the Sac-Joaquin Division VI Championship game. They played hard, only to be disappointed in a heart breaking one goal loss to the Orestimba Warriors of Newman.

Orestimba was the top seed in the bracket, Riverbank was the seventh seed.

Riverbank’s 3-2 loss still earned them a second place finish in this year’s Section campaign.



The only Riverbank track and field athlete that competed over spring break was Alondra Hernandez.

“She competed in the Bella Vista Invitational and placed eighth overall with a new personal record of 5:19,” said head coach Monte Wood. “This was only her third competitive 1600 in her career, and it is nice to see her times continue to drop. She has blazing speed but now just needs a little more race experience to really live up to her potential.”



The Riverbank track and field team walked away from their dual meet on Wednesday with smiles on their faces, despite being beaten handily by a “very talented” Ripon High team, according to head coach Monte Wood. He said almost every Bruin set personal records, and many of them, multiple times.



As the temperature outside climbed last week, so did the excitement escalate as competitors from far and wide came to the AAU Region 22 Track & Field Championships on the Riverbank High track.

Runners, throwers and jumpers from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, the California coast to Western Nevada, ages 8 and under through 18 years of age, came to qualify for the next level, the National American Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Michigan. The top six finishers in running events, including relays, the top five in field events and the top four in multi-events will move on to the Nationals.



As the end of summer draws near, some athlete’s hearts turn to thoughts of ... yes, you guessed it, football. Riverbank schools will see classes back in session on Wednesday, Aug. 9, but football practice, at least for the Junior Bruins youth teams, began this past weekend, with workouts both Saturday and Sunday mornings.



The kick-off game for Riverbank High’s varsity home football season launched as expected on Friday night, Aug. 25, but problems with the halftime cheerleading show put a damper on what was an otherwise successful beginning to the 2017 campaign.

A miscue on a cheer squad landing of a ‘flyer’ during the intermission resulted in an injury to one of the ‘catchers.’ It caused a significant delay in the game while parents and emergency medical responders treated the injury, then finally took the injured girl to the hospital.

The incident put a damper on what was otherwise a good evening of football for the Riverbank varsity team.

Hosting the Trojan-Warriors from Madison Park Academy from Oakland, the Bruins easily rolled to victory.

The final score was 64-0.



After losing a tough, tight match, 3-2, to the Lady Spartans of Grace M. Davis High School on Thursday, Aug. 31, the Lady Bruins varsity volleyball girls took on three matches in as many days this past week.

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, they traveled to Sutter Creek to meet the Lady Buffaloes of Amador High School, losing the match in three straight games, 3-25, 18-25 and 9-25.

On Wednesday, though, it was a different matter. In a home contest against Downey High that was originally scheduled for Modesto, the Riverbank ladies fought to a 3-2 victory.

Scores were 25-12, 21-25, 20-25, 25-19 and 15-12, with the Lady Bruins winning game one before falling in games two and three. They battled back to even the match at 2-2 with a win in the fourth game, then took the deciding game in the match to nail down the win.

Despite the thermometer coming nowhere near 100 degrees, it was still a warm, sunny Saturday as the Jr. Bruins youth football teams hosted the Steeler-Jags from Salida on Sept. 8. Unfortunately, the visitors left after putting three of the five games played in their win column.

The fearless girls of Riverbank High School’s Powder Puff flag football teams this year broke with a tradition, with the contest actually yielding a winner. For the past three years, fans on both sides have been frustrated to see the games ending in ties. This year, the senior/frosh squad took advantage of a junior/soph team that just couldn’t seem to get on track.



Riverbank’s Youth Football teams had a hard day of it this past Saturday, but the Junior Bruin varsity team was able to nail down a win in their game, to cap their last home game of the season. The game was also their Homecoming celebration, with a theme of those ‘Oldies but Goodies.’

The bad news first: all the other Riverbank Jr. Bruin teams suffered defeats in their Saturday contests. The Futures lost 38-7; the Starts fell by a 40-6 decision; the Rookies lost by a 33-6 final and the JV team was shut out, 46-0.

Riverbank High School has another season for girls golf in the books, this time with a 12-0 record and a trip to the Section Tournament. And it’s a team of primarily second-year players who went undefeated in their division, with two of them tabbed as all-league selections.

With understandable pride, coach Ismael Mercado is praising his whole team, but especially Angela Calderon who is a returning all-league golfer from last year. She joins Citlalli Martinez on this year’s all-league roster.

The coach was named as the Valley Foothill League’s South Coach of the Year; the Trans-Valley League golf girls play in what they call the Valley Foothill League, with North and South divisions. Riverbank took down opponents including Gustine, Ripon Christian, Hilmar, Mountain House, Hughson and Orestimba.



For the 35th time in Riverbank High School’s 50-year history, a cross country team came away with a Trans-Valley League Championship. The boys team won one of the closest races in a long time to win a share of the team title. The final score was Riverbank 53, Escalon 56, and Hilmar 59.

Riverbank High’s Angelo Novi Stadium was a busy place this past Saturday, despite worries of rain coming southward all day, with two of the local youth football teams advancing in the playoff tournaments. First up, the Futures team, the youngest players, received a forfeit from the Salida Steeler Jags, to advance to the next round, because the visitors couldn’t field enough players.

Riverbank High School’s varsity football team went out on a high note this past Friday, Nov. 3, scoring a 46-8 win in San Andreas. And senior running back/receiver Billy Williams racked up his 28th touchdown of the season in his final high school game against Sierra Ridge Academy/ROP’s Rams.

Riverbank High School boys basketball got preparations underway for its winter season this past weekend, with teams from all over the region coming to town for some serious scrimmage action at the Ray Fauria Gymnasium. A four-way scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 18 was held between 10 a.m. and noon, with teams alternating between half-court sessions on the main floor, then playing on the cross-court set ups.



Riverbank athletes, friends and family gathered in the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium recently for the athletes to be recognized for their excellence, both on the field and in the classroom for the recently completed fall season at RHS.

Soccer fields and basketball courts have been humming in advance of the upcoming Christmas break at Riverbank High School. This past week saw girls soccer playing at home on both Tuesday and Thursday, while Bruin boys basketball also played on the home hardwood, on Wednesday and Thursday.

It’s the week before Christmas, and all through the house, the Bruins have been playing, both indoor and out. Bruin soccer and basketball was on home courts and fields last week, and while the scores didn’t favor the locals, the action was packed with intensity fitting pre-season, pre-holiday competition.